A company called Eko Devices came up with a smart stethoscope that could eliminate unnecessary cardiologist referrals. The device that connects to pretty much any standard stethoscope converts the sound to digital signal and sends it to the server from where a cardiologist could access it. Even better, this audio data could be compared to a database of heartbeats to determine whether something’s wrong with the patient.
Called Eko Core, the device is made to fit between the earpiece and chest piece of a stethoscope. The sound it captures is routed to a phone via Bluetooth LE, and the mobile app then beams it up to the cloud. From here an algorithm could kick in, or a specialist could download the audio file and listen to it. Using Eko Core’s adapter will provide the most accurate sound, but a pair of good headphones could work as well.
With cardiovascular diseases affecting 1 in 4 of the world’s population, there’s a huge potential market for Eko Devices’ product. For one thing, an Eko Core could help solve the 750 billion medical waste problem, helping cut cardiologist costs along the way.
Eko Devices expects to get an FDA approval for its product this year and eventually start selling it in 2015.Eko has been working with the StartX accelerator at Stanford for the past few months. It’s also doing pilot programs at two Bay Area hospitals, though they yet have to announce which hospitals are those.
The company has raised around $800,000 in seed money so far, and is in the midst of assembling a new round of funding. It expects to get an FDA approval for its product this year and eventually start selling it in 2015.